Saturday, July 21, 2018

Terror in Times Square: Review

Terror in Times Square (1950) by Alan Handley features Tim, a small-time actor just waiting for the big break that he's sure is coming his way. A Hollywood producer who just happens to take in a play that has this "young actor who's outta this world. You ought to see what he makes of that tiny part that imbecile director gave him!" Or a big even that will get his name and picture in the papers. know what they say--be careful what you wish for.

One morning Tim is awakened by a phone call from his agent, Nellie, telling him to come to her office pronto. He's hoping it means she's found a part for him. But when he arrives at her office he finds her dead with a sharp filing spindle stuck through her and the only part on offer seems to be that of chief suspect in a murder mystery. After all, doesn't every actor have the urge to kill their agent at one time or another? He spies her appointment book and snags it because he doesn't want any curious cops getting bright ideas about his morning visit. He leaves the building, hoping no one has seen him, and heads straight to his friend and fellow actor's place. Maggie Lanson's name is also in the book and for an appointment earlier than his, but she says she didn't go. She forgot all about it. She doesn't seem at all concerned that their agent has been murdered ("about time too") and doesn't seem to understand Tim's fear that one or both of them might be a suspect.

Tim determines to discover who did it before the police even get around to suspecting and sets out to track down the mysterious "Bobby LeB"--the other name in Nellie's appointment book for the day. His search leads him through the theaters and night clubs of New York to an alley where he's knocked out and into a steam room where the murderer will try to boil him alive. But in the end, Tim will help New York's finest get their (wo)man.

This mystery reminds me of all the HIBK books I've read where the heroine goes and gets herself into all sorts of dangerous situations because her curiosity gets the better of her. If our hero would just sit tight and wait, the police would get the killer and he'd be saved a few injuries. But where would the fun be in that? This a middle-of-the-road mystery. Good characters, but a pretty flimsly plot with a fairly melodramatic ending. A decent, quick read for a lazy afternoon. ★★

[finished 6/5/18]

No comments: